By (Matthew Speakman)

Alabama’s matchup with Dayton went a lot different than last season’s 32-point loss to the Flyers. This time around, the Crimson Tide was right with the Flyers with less than a minute left.

Trailing by just three points with 15 seconds left on the clock, Alabama had an open shot. On an inbounds pass, senior Corban Collins found himself with a look from the corner behind the arc to tie the game up. That shot did not fall, though, and Dayton locked down a 77-72 victory in the hard-fought game.

Despite the miss, Collins believes he got the shot he wanted.

“I felt like I had a good look at it,” he said. “We executed the play. Coach [Avery] Johnson did a good job of drawing up a play to get us open. I just had to take my time. I rushed it a little bit.”

Johnson said that play is one Alabama has had in its system. The team got a good pass on the inbounds, but just could not knock down the shot. Despite having an open look, Johnson believes the two three-pointers by Dayton were big down the stretch.

Missed shots on open looks plagued Alabama for most of the game. The Crimson Tide managed to put up 15 more shots than Dayton, but only converted on 39 percent of its attempts.

“We had two or three shots that basically went in the basket and popped out on us,” Johnson said. “Just a couple of unfortunate bounces. We have to continue to execute and take our shots with confidence.”

Much of the second half went back and forth. Although it had a four-point advantage with nearly 11 minutes left, Alabama was unable to really extend its lead and take control of the game. The Crimson Tide then found itself in a five-minute scoring drought that was one of the differences in the loss.

“It was a tough stretch for us,” senior Jimmie Taylor said. “We just kept fighting and pushing through.”

Alabama once again messed around with its rotation throughout the game. The Crimson Tide played 11 players, with some moving around to different positions. Johnson thinks that as the season progresses, the team will establish a solid rotation.

Johnson said the versatility of players, such as redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram, gives Alabama a lot of different looks.

“We use Dazon [Ingram] in a variety of ways,” Johnson said. “We pick and roll him. He didn’t make a three, but he’s looking good with his outside shot. We post him up. We play him in between. We use him and Braxton [Key] in a lot of different ways.”

Key, Ingram and Collins were important for the Crimson Tide against the Flyers. Collins led the way with 15 points, and Key scored 10 of his 15 to match Collins in scoring. Key also led the team in rebounds with six.

Collins spoke highly of Key’s performance and what the freshman brings to the team.

“He is a big-time guy,” Collins said. “That is what Coach Johnson and the staff brought him in to do: to be an impact player right away. He showed his poise and he showed his maturity out there. He made some big plays and some big rebounds.”

Alabama will look to move on from the close loss when the team takes on Ball State at home on Nov. 18. That game will tip off at 8 p.m. CT.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports